There are many reasons why people are self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, including social pressures, curiosity, and desires to feel a certain way. In the United States, millions of people are considered illicit drug users and alcohol consumers.
People may also self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, when they attempt to escape trauma, ease physical or emotional pain, relieve stress, or reduce the symptoms of a mental illness.
If you are concerned that you are self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, there are important signs to be aware of. By identifying this behavior, you can seek dual diagnosis treatment (which we offer here in Agoura Hills, California) and heal from substance abuse, as well as the underlying trauma or mental illness.
Here are the five important signs to pay attention to.
1. You drink or use drugs to manage uncomfortable emotions.
If you regularly “drown your troubles” in drugs or alcohol, this is a sure sign of self-medication. You are using drugs and alcohol in an unhealthy way, and relying on them to escape your feelings. As the effects of drugs and alcohol take over, you’ll have two issues: dependency and an underlying source of pain.
2. Your mood or mental health symptoms get worse when you’re under the influence.
Abusing drugs and alcohol takes a toll on your mental and physical health. Do you find that you’re having trouble sleeping? Are your moods stronger? Do you have a difficult time managing your emotions? While illicit substances may seem to ease mental health symptoms at first, these issues will only get worse.
3. Friends and family are worried about your health.
If friends, family, or doctors are concerned about your drug and alcohol usage, it’s a sure sign that you’ve crossed the line into self-medication. The people around you have an objective viewpoint and can see things you may not. Getting help now is important, so you don’t have to wait until rock bottom to seek drug rehab.
4. Your drug and alcohol use is crossing over into other aspects of life.
Have you noticed that you’re having trouble in your relationships? Your finances? People who self-medicate tend to have social, financial, and health problems. The ongoing use of drugs and alcohol also creates additional problems and takes away the ability to connect with yourself and others.
5. You are worried when you can’t drink or get high.
If you can’t get drunk or high, are you anxious? This is a sign that you’re self-medicating and don’t want to deal with your true emotions. You want to push away the fear, and then self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, instead of facing reality.
If you believe you are self-medicating, help is available. Dual diagnosis rehab in California addresses substance abuse and underlying trauma or mental health disorder.
Contact Awakenings Treatment Center to learn more about our intensive outpatient treatment program.